Tomorrow we have a debrief with the HRD following our recent visit to Prangcaster University, where we met head of management sciences, professor Barry Buck. The HRD wants Prangcaster Council’s management training to get as much outside accreditation as possible, thus the meeting with the prof. My colleague Lynda and I are putting the finishing touches to our report. For once, I’m positive. The prof may look like a Big Issue seller but he’s damn sharp on management training and L&D. He also made it clear the uni would be most accommodating in granting credits for our managers’ qualifications and training backgrounds. He also played his ace: the uni will soon offer an MBA in HR management. The prof certainly knows what makes an HRD happy.
We were closeted with the HRD for what seemed like an eternity while he picked over the detail of the debrief well, one element. “I must say that this HR MBA demonstrates forward-thinking of the most innovative kind at the poly, er, uni,” he said. “Take me, for example. My Business Studies degree, plus my CIPD qualifications and my training track record, gives me 75% of the credits needed for this HR MBA. All I need is to photocopy my certificates on the wall and do the comp and bens, competencies and performance evaluation modules and I’ve got an MBA. Take me to the promised land.” Indeed. All was agreed in principle and we were sent forth to get costings from the prof’s department. I fear the extra mile he is willing to go will be littered with pound signs.
I’m focused on my magnus hardus – devising an online TNA system. Progress is slow and is not helped by our lack of Excel skills. The IS support service has proved itself as helpful as ever. When called, it peddles the party line: “It’s organisational policy that software skill development and acquisition is conducted through the SOAP (Skills Open All Points) e-learning system.” Learning online is not my forte so I’m using the Excel for Utter Idiots Guide. Don’t snigger: it’s shown me how to add an interactive element to the question “How will this learning benefit the services delivered to citizens of Prangcaster.” Well, we all know the answer to that.
The prof tells us that accreditation towards the galaxy of management qualifications offered by his burgeoning department will cost £50 per head per vetting transaction, plus an upfront £5,000 annually to cover admin costs. “You’ll find it’s a steal,” he told me. More like theft. Given that the HRD has just the one method for finding funding – “We must rob Peter to pay Paul” – something will have to give. Late in the day, an e-mail from the HRD arrives. The message line is short and simple: SOAP’s future.